As I got ready to come to Target Field this morning, my wife looked out the window at the six inches of snow in our yard and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” And as I turned on the windshield wipers amid snow flurries on my drive downtown, I realized how absurd it all seemed.
But no kidding, the Twins are playing baseball today. And the afternoon might turn out to be better weather than seemed possible a couple of days ago. The sun is peeking through the clouds at Target Field now, and it’s possible that the temperature might reach 40 degrees shortly after the 1:10 p.m. start. No, it’s not really baseball weather — does it strike anyone as odd that we had baseball weather for last weekend’s basketball games, and basketball weather for this weekend’s baseball? — but it could have been a lot worse. The diamond looks terrific, as usual, and several fans have already arrived for today’s game with the Tigers.
The upper deck will be closed, however, and fans with upper-deck tickets will be invited to sit in the lower bowl.
The Twins will play their 11th game this afternoon, the fewest so far in the majors, and Rocco Baldelli is trying to stay positive about what effect, if any, all the down time has had on his players.
“Well, if there was ever a time that you could say that your position players, or your bullpen, are rested, maybe you could take the “rested” route and say that guys are recouping and getting ready to play a bunch of games in a row,” said the Twins’ manager, who admitted he has never seen a schedule like this one. (As I pointed out in this morning’s paper, the Twins have played only 6 percent of their games, but already taken 26 percent of their scheduled off days for 2019.) “I would say our guys probably physically feel pretty good. But like we know, timing matters, and getting out there and getting regular work also matters. I’d say we’re probably short on that end, but complaining isn’t going to get us anywhere.”
Baldelli said he hasn’t detected any grumbling about the schedule in the clubhouse, even though some guys might have reason to. One of them, designated hitter Nelson Cruz, will bat third today, after having only one plate appearance in nine days, thanks to the Twins’ weeklong visit to National League parks. He should get plenty of work now, with games scheduled for the next 12 days in a row.
Except … there’s a 90 percent of rain on Wednesday. Oh well.
Here are the lineups for today’s game: